Scout has been carefully monitoring signs of activity at 317 East Broadway for what feels like an eternity. Last week, we finally got the call that Kin Kao Song, the new project from Kin Kao Commercial Drive owners Terrence Feng and chef Tang Phoonchai, was ready to open. Have a look below for a sense of what to expect when doors open in November.
Scout first visited Kin Kao owners Terrence Feng and chef Tang Phoonchai in their new space at 317 East Broadway back in March, 2021. At that time, the team was aiming to freshen up the room and open doors by summer with an elevated concept including a menu featuring favourite family recipes, regional specialities, and reimagined street food, along with wine, beer and cocktails.
Early summer turned out to be a bridge too far, but I’m happy to report that the overall concept remains rock solid and ready to make its debut.
I visited Kin Kao Song last week and while I was pleased to see that while some of the room’s original charm, such as the pressed tin-style ceiling and 100 year-old wood floors had been retained, I was so impressed by what local designers David and Susan Scott of Scott & Scott Architecture had done to transform the balance of the once dark and moody space into a bright and inviting one.
Marine-grade plywood, clean, simple lines and a crisp colour palette (whites, greys and cobalt blue) bring a familiar Kin Kao feeling, but subtle differences, such as hints of tinted glass, sleek chairs (Manner Studio) and a bold punch of a yellow rectangle on the wall clearly signal something new.
Like the design of the room, the menu at Kin Kao Song also blends “comforting and familiar” with innovation.
While the team’s original vision was to offer a menu that was 70% vegan, Kin Kao Song will open with closer to 40% vegan menu (creeping closer to 70% over time). Though menus had yet to be printed at the time of my visit, I do know it will feature a tasty line-up (some 19 items) including curries, soups, salads and skewers, as well as crispy tofu and house tamarind sauce, Betel leaf wrapped prawns, grilled octopus. There will also be a lemongrass coconut mousse cake made by Commercial Drive sweethearts: Oh Sweet Day.
The beverage program includes a small but thoughtfully composed wine list (mostly European labels), Neon Eon sauvignon blanc and merlot on tap, nightly ‘by the glass’ offerings, beer (Slow Hand, Strange Fellows, Four Winds) and cider (Dominion) as well as a tight cocktail list (from Thai Lemongrass Sour to Kalamansi Old-Fashioned).
At 1,600 sqft, the restaurant will open with seating for 45 (6 at the bar), but plans are already afoot to add an additional 10 seats in 2022. If Kin Kao Song proves to be as cool as it looks now, there will be a demand for as many seats as they can provide.
Kin Kao Song will be open 5-10 Thursday-Monday (closed Tuesday and Wednesday) beginning early in November (check the Kin Kao Song IG feed to stay up-to-speed).